Arson: Everything You Need to Know
Arson is a criminal offense occurring when a person intentionally sets fire to or burns something; and the person acted wrongfully and without justification.2 min read
- A criminal offense occurring when a person intentionally sets fire to or burns something; and the person acted wrongfully and without justification, or the person did something which was a substantial step toward committing the crime. [Mere preparation is not a substantial step toward committing a crime.]
- Under common law, the malicious burning of the house owned by another person; under statutes, the house need not be one owned by another person.
Elements of Arson
In order to make this crime complete, there must be, first, a burning of the house, or some part of it; it is sufficient if any part be consumed, however small it may be. The house burned must belong to another, but if a man set fire to his own house with a view to burn his neighbor's, and does so, it is at least a great misdemeanor, if not a felony. The burning must have been both malicious and willful.
The offense of arson at common law, does not extend further than the burning of the house of another. By statute this crime is greatly enlarged in some of the states, as in Pennsylvania, where it is extended to the burning of any barn or outhouse having bay or grain therein; any barrack, rick or stack of hay, grain, or bark; any public buildings, church or meeting-house, college, school or library.,0The Best Lawyers For Less
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